Networking in Our Socially Distanced World

 Published: June 8, 2021

By: Debbie Bunch

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If you enjoy meeting with your RT colleagues outside of work — whether that be at AARC events or just for a drink after work or a weekend ballgame — your opportunities for face-to-face gatherings have largely been curtailed during the pandemic.

But RTs are still connecting. They’ve just had to use more technology to make it happen.

Karsten Roberts, MSc, RRT, RRT-ACCS, is one such therapist. Despite long days on the job at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, where he works as a critical care education clinic specialist, he’s managed to keep up with his friends in the profession.

Networking tools

“During the pandemic, I have mostly been networking via group text messages with close friends,” Roberts said. “I have at least two, if not three, group chats going, and we usually check-in at least once a week.”

He has also done group ZOOM calls with fellow therapists from around the country. He also has used AARConnect to keep in touch, especially with his fellow members of the AARC Membership Committee.

Roberts co-chairs the committee along with Cheryl Skinner, MSc, RRT, CPFT, from Kansas, and they have had several one-on-one sessions.

“One of our meetings was just us talking about our experiences,” he said. “Seeing how everyone was doing and basically reminding each other that we got this.”

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A full cup

Roberts has taken advantage of the AARC’s virtual meetings during the pandemic too, and he gives them high marks.

“AARC LIVE 2020 was a really wonderful event,” he said. “It was very well done, and I think, well-received.”

While he is hoping the Association will host an in-person meeting this year in Phoenix, he says he actually got as much satisfaction out of the AARC’s virtual events as he usually gets from the more traditional Congresses we are all used to.

“They filled my cup,” he said.

What is he most looking forward to now that the vaccines are here?

Roberts has already been able to see a few of his Washington, DC/Maryland/Virginia colleagues in person, and he is eager to see more. He can’t wait until the AARC state societies in his region of the country resume in-person conferences and events.

“One of my favorites is in South Carolina, at Myrtle Beach,” he said.

He is making plans for some fun activities with his RT buddies as well.

“One of my closest friends is coming to Philly to go to a baseball game later in the summer,” he said. “I also look forward to getting my family together with some of the AARC folks that are local again soon.”

A viable option

Networking during a pandemic is undoubtedly a challenge, but thankfully we live in a technological age that makes virtual connections a viable option. They have worked for Karsten Roberts and most likely have worked for many other therapists during the past year too.

The AARC is hosting a virtual Summer Forum over four days in June and July and is cautiously optimistic that therapists will be able to get together in person this Nov. 6-9 for AARC Congress 2021 in Phoenix, AZ.

Email newsroom@aarc.org with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Debbie Bunch

Debbie Bunch is an AARC contributor who writes feature articles, news stories, and other content for Newsroom, the AARC website, and associated emailed newsletters. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and spending time with her children and grandchildren. Connect with Debbie by email or on AARConnect or LinkedIn.

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